T hird Year Placement Student, Abigail Edwards, is one of the Project Co-Ordinators involved in GL events UK’s delivery of infrastructure to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Known for her bubbly personality and calm manner, it is no wonder that Abigail is well-equipped to handle this predominantly organisational and administrative role at the forefront of this huge multi-national sporting event.
Abigail’s primary responsibility is to support all the cluster managers, for example Cluster 3 Manager, James Gibson. This requires processing paperwork and ‘Supplier Onboarding’, which is essentially the process of establishing new business relationships with suppliers. Additionally, her role extends to providing general support for the other members of the Birmingham 2022 team. Overall, Abigail describes her role as a largely administrative position.
Undoubtedly, Birmingham is a vastly well-known city across the UK (and overseas). Nonetheless, the Birmingham 2022 will understandably attract even larger numbers of visitors from across the globe, helping to achieve one of its Social Value ‘Missions’ to ‘Put the city and region on the map’. Indeed, this is a common acknowledgement of the team members at GL events UK. Abigail emphasised the certainty that the Games will further increase the popularity of the city of Birmingham even after the Games have ended. “It’s just such a large event! Of course, Birmingham is very popular but I think these Games will really put Birmingham on the map as a destination to visit for a long time.”
Another crucial element within the Birmingham 2022 Social Values Charter is ‘Local Benefit’ which GL events UK are committed to support. This resonated with Abigail as the Local Benefit has provided the opportunity for her involvement in the project via a Third Year University Placement, as outlined in our partnership with UCB. She highlighted the importance of social value for enabling her to do this. “Social value is very important. If there wasn’t a Social Value element to the Games, I wouldn’t be in this job. It’s a very good opportunity that you just can’t say no to! Overall, the Social Value elements that have been added to the Games will be very beneficial for Birmingham.”
”“Everything going on makes you realise just how big this project actually is. When I’ve sat-in on some of the meetings, I’ve thought 'wow this is just massive, absolutely massive!”Abigail EdwardsProject Co-Ordinator - GL events UK
As with any collaborative project of this size, challenges will arise regardless of a person’s role. Abigail explained that she has had to undergo many new learning opportunities particularly when partaking in Venue meetings. “My biggest challenge so far is understanding the vast amount of terminology and abbreviations as it’s unfamiliar territory to me. Likewise, at times it’s difficult to understand what you’re looking at on the plans and drawings as the team are discussing it. It’s quite hard to visit an empty site and look at the drawings to envision how it would be. But luckily, there are a few other new people so it’s nice to help each other with these things together and the more experienced members of the team are really helpful.”
Throughout her involvement, Abigail finds herself reminded of the enormity and significance of this project. “I’d probably say that my favourite part so far is listening to the various processes within the wider project, even though the terminology was hard to pick up at first. It’s really interesting and it makes you realise just how big it actually is. When I’ve sat in on some of the meetings, I’ve just thought ‘wow this is massive, absolutely massive!’”
It is clear that Abigail has a fondness for the team that adds to her overall enjoyment of the job. “The team are great. You can tell that they all love what they’re doing. It’s been amazing to see how all the different processes of the Games work. At the end of it all, it would be great to be able to get some tickets to see it all in action.” Abigail went on to graciously praise the team for supporting her in the process thus far. “There’s a lot of support with things too. If you’re ever stuck they’ll say ‘yeah that’s fine’ and explain it to you which is really helpful. In particular, the cluster managers and Tom (the Project Director) are all really understanding. They recognise that you’re not going to know everything, especially if your previous work was not in this type of industry, and they want you to get as much out of the project as possible.”
Much like the longstanding mantra from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, “people make Glasgow”, the sentiment of togetherness seems to radiate through the GL events UK team. Assuredly, these Games and the Social Value it presents, will make that same impact on the local communities of the West Midlands indefinitely.
Keep your eyes peeled for more team interviews – coming soon!